Wichita, Kan. (KWCH) – Update: In a briefing from Andover emergency officials, the city’s fire chief, Chad Russell said there are 966 buildings in the hurricane’s path from where it began in Sedgwick County, to the city of Andover and across the county line into Butler County. Chief Russell confirmed that some neighborhood homes had been destroyed, but he did not yet have the total number of buildings damaged or destroyed. Earlier Friday night, the United Way of the Plains reported 50 to 100 buildings destroyed, in Sedgwick County only.
What started as a funnel, eventually descended with a small rope tornado near Andover Friday night that gained momentum and grew into a large cone that caused extensive damage throughout the Wichita suburb.
Confirmed damage included home demolitions, severe damage to the Andover YMCA and Capital Federal Amphitheater in Andover Central Park, as well as at least minor damage to Andover City Hall and Andover Central High School. The United Way of the Plains reported that 50 to 100 buildings were damaged in a tornado Friday night, in Sedgwick County only. The total including Butler County is likely to be much higher. The United Way newspaper said the Andover YMCA had taken a direct hit.
A firefighter near East 31st Street South and South 137th Street East confirmed a serious, but not life-threatening, injury in that neighborhood.
The Greater Wichita YMCA late Friday night released a statement expressing gratitude that no one was hurt at the Andover facility when the tornado hit. As expected, the YMCA stated that the Andover branch will be closed until further notice.
The YMCA said: “We are grateful that all staff and members who sought refuge in the branch during the storm were not injured.”
The hurricane that hit Andover came with a powerful storm that continued to journey northeast. A tornado has also been confirmed near Rosalia, about 16 miles east of El Dorado.
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